06/25/2012 05:21 EDT | Updated 08/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Near drownings prompt call for backyard pool barriers

Water-safety experts are calling on swimming pool owners to add safety barriers, after a pair of near drownings left two Quebec boys in hospital.

A two-year-old boy is in critical condition after he was found at the bottom of his family's backyard pool in Terrebonne, east of Montreal, on Sunday.

On Saturday, a three-year-old boy was found unconscious in his family's pool in Sainte-Martine, a town north of Montreal.

Installing barriers with self-closing gates around private swimming pools could reduce the number of child drownings by up to seventy per cent, estimates Safe Kids Canada.

"Places like New Zealand that have enforced four-sided pool fencing have virtually eliminated the drownings in that kind of scenario," said Safe Kids Canada spokeswoman Pamela Fuselli.

Fuselli says although Quebec introduced a similar law in 2010, it applies only to new pools.

There have been calls to extend the rules.